The Two Worlds of Billy Horschel
Billy Horschel of the United States, ranked 20th in the world golf rankings, enters the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai this week in second place in the Race to Dubai, the season-long points race on the European Tour. To win it all, he will have to pass fellow American Collin Morikawa, ranked second in the world and leading the Race to Dubai.
If Horschel wins, he would enter elite company in winning the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup, the race’s equivalent on the PGA Tour. Henrik Stenson of Sweden is the only one to win both, capturing the FedEx Cup in 2013 and the Race to Dubai in 2013 and 2016.
Horschel is a member of the PGA and the European Tours. This year he has played four events in Europe: the Scottish Open, the British Open, the BMW PGA Championship, which he won the same week he found out he would not play in the Ryder Cup — and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Horschel said he embraced his dual tour status, and in return he has been embraced by European fans.
The following interview has been edited and condensed.
How does winning the BMW PGA Championship rank in your year?
It was a top highlight. I played it in 2019, and I fell in love with the event. I watched it as a kid. It was the first week we were out of school. I’d watch it and go play afterward. To win there — the support I got was unbelievable. It made me feel like I was an English golfer with so many people rooting me on to victory. Being the flagship event on the European Tour, it has that same level of importance as the Players Championship on the PGA Tour. Being able to say I’ve won there is important. That event can rival any event on the PGA Tour. It’s comparable to the majors.
How did you feel about the Ryder Cup?
I’m ecstatic the U.S. Team won. Many times we had a strong team on paper, but these guys produced, and I knew they would. The majority were really close knit, but they also knew how to get away and have fun off the golf course. I wanted to make the team, but I knew I had a very low percentage chance of making it. I was just more upset thinking I should have gotten a call. At the end of the day, it was my little perceived knock, but it worked out in the end.
How do you think about splitting your time on the PGA and European Tours?
The European Tour’s gotten so much tougher. After winning the BMW PGA, I’ve gotten so much support traveling overseas that I’d like to get over more. I’m trying to give myself enough events on the PGA Tour to give myself an opportunity to win the FedEx Cup again. But I’m also trying to support the European Tour and how it’s trying to grow. Over the next five to 10 years, I’m going to try to get over there at least five times, though seven would be ideal.
You are in second place in the Race to Dubai. What are you thinking going into the DP World Tour?
It’s a pretty unique situation. No American has won the Race to Dubai. I think Collin and I have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done before. It’s going to be an unbelievable week. It’s going to be a tight race. You have a lot of great players who have the chance to win the Race to Dubai. To add your name to that prestigious list is something you can’t get away from. I’ve already been thinking about it since I won the BMW PGA.
What do season-long contests like the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup mean to players?
I’m always trying to win the tournament. I hardly ever know where I stand in points. I’m always trying to get better through the year. But in a couple of events, you’re coming down 18 and you don’t have a chance to win, and you say to yourself, “Let’s not do anything stupid and take away a top-five finish.” At the end of the year, one shot can be a massive difference.